Speeches

02.13.19

Time to Wake Up: A Green New Deal

I came here this afternoon to give my customary weekly climate speech urging it is time to wake up here. I was planning to speak about a legal brief that a number of scientists, led by Robert Brulle and Naomi Oreskes, filed in the Ninth Circuit, detailing the long history of the oil industry knowing about climate change, doing its own research to confirm what it knows about climate change, telling the public something that they knew was false, and yet taking what they knew to be true and using i… Continue Reading


02.06.19

Time To Wake Up: Carbon Dividends

Mr./Madam President, judging by the deafening silence of Senate Republicans, you would think that there was no conservative support in this country for even the most measured response to climate change. However, many prominent Republicans are clamoring for climate action-just not here in Mammon Hall. See, for example, this January 16 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal-not exactly a progressive lefty rag. The opening line: "Global climate change is a serious problem calling for immediate national… Continue Reading


01.29.19

Time To Wake Up: There’s No Place Like (an Underwater) Home

Madam President, I'm fortunate to be joined today by my colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Hassan, to talk about the risks to our New England coastal communities from the climate changes coming our way. Despite really dirty efforts of the fossil fuel industry to keep the truth at bay, the tide of public understanding is turning. A recent survey by Yale and George Mason Universities found that 73 percent of Americans now see global warming happening. That number is up 10 percentage points … Continue Reading


01.15.19

Time To Wake Up: The Polls Have It

Madam President, with a new year come a lot of changes. This month, a Democratic majority was sworn into the House of Representatives, and that new majority has heard the call from Americans to make tackling climate change one of its top priorities. What a change that will present from the last Congress! Young voters who helped propel this change are urgently concerned about climate change. More than three-fourths of millennials agree on the need for climate action, with even a majority of … Continue Reading


01.10.19

Time To Wake Up: 2018 Year in Review

Happy new year, Mr. President. The new 116th Congress brings new hope for the Senate to face up to the clear and present challenge of climate change. The House of Representatives, in Democratic hands, augments that hope. The Senate Republican majority has failed to address climate change. This was no accident. This is the Senate in the Citizens United era. We saw years of Senate climate bipartisanship before Citizens United. After Citizens United, we see immensely powerful, climate denyi… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Time To Wake Up: We Must Save the NFIP from Drowning

I'm grateful to the Senior Senator from New Jersey for joining me again this week to bring attention to the challenges climate change poses to our coastal communities. Our states shared the experience of Superstorm Sandy, which roared ashore on higher and warmer oceans, and we know how vulnerable we are. As sea levels rise and storms intensify, the National Flood Insurance Program should be one of our government's best tools to educate and ready our communities for the changes carbon pollut… Continue Reading


12.17.18

Whitehouse Floor Remarks on the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act

Mr. President, one of the things that marks service as a U.S. Senator is the chance to meet really remarkable individuals, and among the remarkable individuals I have had the chance to meet in my time in the Senate, there are few, if any, who are more impressive or memorable than those who have been diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Competing with them for being impressive and noteworthy are the friends and family and advocates who become their support system and their… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Whitehouse Floor Remarks on the Congressional Review Act and Dark Money

Mr. President, I am honored to join the senior Senator from Oregon in support of this important resolution. As I think everybody on this floor has observed, there is a rot in our American democracy, and there is a shadow over the Halls of Congress. The rot is dark money, and the shadow is special interest influence empowered by that dark money. A lot of this goes back to the extraordinarily misguided decision of the U.S. Supreme Court-or, I should say, five Republican appointees to the U.S. Sup… Continue Reading


12.11.18

Time To Wake Up: COP24

Mr. President, this week, nations of the world are gathering in Katowice [cat-oh-vee-za], Poland, to review - and we hope amplify - their commitments to reduce carbon emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement, and to discuss how they will report and verify reductions in carbon pollution. The U.S. is technically present in the form of a small delegation, but American leadership on climate change is decidedly absent. Why? Because the government of the United States of America has fallen under th… Continue Reading


12.06.18

Time To Wake Up: From Coast to Coast

Mr. President, I'm very pleased that Senator Feinstein is joining me today - welcome. We're here to discuss how climate change is affecting the U.S. from the East to the West, from large states like California to the smallest one, Rhode Island - small in size, but long on coastline! As coastal states, both Rhode Island and California are on the front lines of climate change. Sea levels are already rising, and as they do, Rhode Island's coastal communities are having to spend more and more mon… Continue Reading


12.05.18

Whitehouse Remarks on the Nomination of Bernard McNamee’s for FERC Commissioner

Mr. President, I am here today to express my extremely grave concerns about the person we have just begun to move to a vote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He would be Commissioner McNamee if we were to confirm him. This is in an administration that has distinguished itself with terrible energy appointments-conceivably the worst. It is too important to our country to have an independent and reality based Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow an industry plant like Mr. McName… Continue Reading


11.28.18

Time To Wake Up: Science’s Latest Warning

A persistent argument of my climate talks is how corrupt climate denial is, and how malign the fossil fuel industry has been in the politics of climate change. The premise of that argument is that the fossil fuel industry denial apparatus is wrong about climate change, and knows it is wrong. That is my case: the denial apparatus is not only wrong, but knows it is wrong. Every once in a while, along comes something that proves my case. Last week, on the afternoon of Black Friday, the Trump … Continue Reading


11.14.18

Time To Wake Up: The Ocean Heat Bomb

It is hard to overstate the importance of the Earth's oceans, as a storehouse of our food, a regulator of our climate, a highway for our travel and trade, and a source of wonder and recreation. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, oceans contributed $1.5 trillion to the global economy in 2010. But climate change is putting this all at risk. I've spoken frequently here on the floor about the threat climate change poses to our oceans, and of the warning signal… Continue Reading


10.11.18

Whitehouse Statement for the Record in Support of WRDA

The passage of the bipartisan America's Water Infrastructure Act, more commonly called the 2018 WRDA bill, is celebrated by a wide spectrum of supporters, including environmental organizations; national associations representing cities and counties; and water and coastal business associations. I would like to commend the Chairman, the Ranking Member, and the staff of the Environment and Public Works Committee for their hard work on this bill. I appreciate their consideration of my requests a… Continue Reading


10.10.18

Time To Wake Up: The Costs Don’t Lie

I am delighted to be joined today by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. Senator Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for clean energy, and is the Senate's champion on energy efficiency, alongside Senator Portman. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major warning last week. Ninety-one authors and editors from 40 countries reviewed more than 6,000 scientific papers to assess what it would take to hold global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustria… Continue Reading


10.06.18

Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

As a United States Senator and a member of the Judiciary Committee, giving careful consideration to Supreme Court nominations is among my most important responsibilities. These lifetime appointments can change not only the course of the nation, but the course of lives. I began with deep concerns about Judge Kavanaugh: his unfettered view of executive power?-?effectively believing the President is beyond the law; his refusal to commit to well-established precedents on critical issues, like women… Continue Reading


10.03.18

Time To Wake Up: Rising Tides and Coastal Risks

I am grateful to be joined today by my colleague, Senator Merkley, for my 222nd "Time to Wake Up" climate speech. Though thousands of miles apart on the West and East costs, Oregon and Rhode Island share a common connection: our oceans. Fisheries and coastal tourism are major drivers of our economies. Our coastlines are filled with homes, families, and businesses. So we're here to talk about the challenges of human-driven climate change for our oceans and coasts: sea level rise, ocean acidif… Continue Reading


09.18.18

Time To Wake Up: California Summit & Carbon Fee

As I rise on the occasion of my 220th "Time To Wake Up" climate speech, there's plenty of evidence that the possibility of meaningful action on climate change in the United States is perilously low. We have a president who - against all the evidence - claims that climate change is a Chinese hoax. This same president announced last year that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. He installed the theatrically corrupt Scott Pruitt, who owed his entire political career to the fossi… Continue Reading


09.12.18

Time To Wake Up: The Booming Renewables Sector

I am delighted to be joined today by my colleague Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota. Both my home state of Rhode Island and her state of Minnesota are heavily involved in the booming renewable energy sector. President Trump has called climate change a hoax. But no matter how much his administration may try to prop up the fossil fuel industry, there's no denying the clean energy revolution unfolding across the country. The rapid growth of renewables has been underway for decades, but the tran… Continue Reading


09.04.18

Time To Wake Up: Around the Warming World

I'm grateful to my colleague from New Mexico for joining me today for my 218th "Time to Wake Up" speech. Senator Udall is a formidable advocate for conserving our public lands and protecting endangered species¾helping ensure future generations will inherit a healthy and beautiful planet. These lands and creatures are under direct attack from the current administration (and the heavy hand of industry that guides it) through regulatory rollbacks and other efforts to weaken protections fo… Continue Reading

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